LeMans recap: What about the Nissan ZEOD RC?

Nissan ZEOD RCNevermind the legal issues surround Nissan’s electro-centric ZEOD RC. Nevermind that it really is a clear copy off the DeltaWing or that the BladeGlider concept inspired by it will probably never go into production. It competed last weekend at the 24 Hours of LeMans, and you probably didn’t hear anything about it. If you did, it was probably that it completed a lap on all-electric power. And then, after 23 minutes and just five laps of Circuit de la Sarthe, it went kaputt. The transmission failed, and so did the most electrifying car in all of endurance racing. With the advent of KERS, capacitors, and heavily hybridized race cars, does the Nissan ZEOD RC really matter? Do cars that run completely on electricity – extended-range electric cars – really make sense in racing? Further, do they make sense in any sort of performance car? nissan_zeod_rc_track_action It can be argued that the Porsche 918 uses its motors for one of the smartest all-wheel-drive systems out there; Ferrari and McLaren use electric power for torque fill because high-revving engines don’t make low-down power. Also, they don’t have F1 rules to compete with, so #yolo. None of them do what the ZEOD RC does exactly. The BMW i8 is most like the ZEOD RC, a car that run as an EV or like a hybrid. It’s neither the best performance car you can get for $136,000, nor the most efficient. It fills a void that I’d rather have filled by a Porsche or even a BMW Z8. It’s in a no man’s land of performance, much like the ZEOD. Both are party favors. Nissan makes a fantastic car in the GT-R, and having torque fill in the next-gen model would do wonders for it. But, and I hope Nissan learned this, a plug-in supercar for the sake of all-electric efficiency does not. Nissan is best to Leaf that one be. The ZEOD was a novel idea. It looks like nothing else. But since Nissan is getting back into the LMP1 class next year, wouldn’t it have been better to allocate the funds it used to knock Audi off its high perch instead? Surely, no one but the Germans would complain about that.  

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